3-30-2017 3-00-37 PMFor many people, establishing a relationship with a primary care physician (PCP) is an important part of managing their overall health.  The PCP has first-hand knowledge of their patients’ medical history and work to coordinate care as needs arise.  Their patients find comfort in this relationship.

Increased deductibles sometimes lead to patients not seeking care

While some alternative care options can provide the same services as a PCP, they don’t allow their patients to establish an ongoing trusted relationship with the provider. In response to situations like this, a new trend in primary care services is beginning to emerge.  The concept of Direct Primary Care is popping up in cities across the country where individuals contract directly or employers pay a monthly fee that provides quick and easy access to a primary care physician.  The concept is similar to concierge medicine, but scaled down to just the primary care needs.  This article from the Wall Street Journal details the growing trend in the marketplace and the impact it can have on the delivery of primary care.

Buyer Beware

While offering direct primary care can be considered another “perk” in a total rewards program, it is important to understand that these services do not integrate with employees’ major medical plan. Some of those limitations include:

  • Monthly access fees do not accumulate towards the patient’s out-of-pocket expenses
  • Doctors will be considered out-of-network which could have an impact on how additional services are rendered
  • Patients would need to see an in-network provider under their major medical plan for additional services and test, like colonoscopies or MRIs

#Trending?

As with many trends we see in the healthcare marketplace currently, Direct Primary Care is a service designed to provide efficient care at a lower cost. Additionally, employees will appreciate that their employer has considered the challenges they face when trying to arrange care in their hectic family-driven lives.   Direct Primary Care has the potential to start trending with individuals and employers as another alternative option for medical services. To find out more about Direct Primary Care facilities that your employees can start utilizing, contact your HCW consultant today.

Jay Lowe

Jay Lowe

Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant - Jay leverages our resources and provides expert consultation in the area of benefit plan design and development for clients in the 25-50 employee market segment. Jay’s energetic and positive outlook makes him a great add to the HCW team.